A IS FOR ANONYMOUS

The bustle of the school grounds reminded me of my old school. I pushed the thought out of my mind. This school would be different. Here I had a clean start. If they don't know me, there's nothing to dislike about me. If they don't know me, there's nothing to expect from me. I pulled my bag higher on my shoulder, dropped my head and headed towards the school entranceway. I quickly glanced back giving my father a reassuring smile.

The small corridors suddenly seemed smaller as a ringing bell could be heard in the distance. People seemed to emerge from the walls themselves. Large clusters formed around the doors due to people trying to cram themselves through. I put my head down once more and pushed my way through the crowd. I scanned the doors, searching for B1. "B6, B5, B4" I counted to myself as I sped down the corridor dodging students left, right and centre. Suddenly the bold black sign jumped into my vision. I cracked the door open and slunk in and quietly took a place in the back corner. Several other students were already in the class. Most of them seemed to be catching up on last minute homework. There was a small group laughing heartily at something I probably wouldn't understand and there was one kid who had her nose buried in a thick book. I let my gaze rest on her. She pushed her thick glasses further up her nose and put her finger in the next page, seconds later turning it. She seemed to sense my gaze and turned her head slightly. Before I could avoid her stare she shot me a small smile. I ignored the gesture and pretended to stare at all the others in the room, then started rummaging through my bag for nothing in particular. I slighted one more glance at the strange girl who had long since returned to her fantasy world.

My responses to anyone who dared approach me were all similar to this and I scared them all off. By the end of the day I still sat alone, barely concentrating on my work. I couldn't help but be grateful for my solidarity. The odd teacher who tried to get me involved soon gave up, obviously thinking that it wasn't worth it. Even my new chemistry teacher let me run my own group of one for the lab section.

When the final bell of the day rang I kept my pace slow so that nobody would be around while I walked home. Tomorrow I was meant to be sitting some kind of test to indicate what classes I was suitable for. Perhaps I would fall ill tomorrow, one can't help those things. I was proud of my day's achievements though, I was still anonymous. Very few even knew my name and I think the word got around that the new kid wasn't very friendly. I sighed slightly, I finally had the fresh start I had dreamed of.

The walk home was a short one, but I took my time. I was in no hurry to begin opening numerous boxes containing relics of our past house. I didn't even want them around. I wanted to forget my last life. There were too many expectations. Everyone expected me to be someone I wasn't, get marks I couldn't, hang out with friends I don't understand and lead a life I didn't want. Here I had a fresh start, nobody expected anything other than for me to push them away. The freedom suddenly pulsed through me and I restrained a small skip. Still my stride widened, one of the lesser side effects of the adrenaline that raced through me.

No miraculous sickness came the next day. My complaints of a sick stomach and headache were met with firm reprimands. I was even forced to walk to school. Dad hadn't seen the need to take me every day, especially since we lived so close. Mum had agreed with him so I had hurried out the door a little earlier than yesterday with a piece of toast still in my hand desperately trying to think of an escape. It crossed my mind to go to town instead, but I would surely be caught and end up getting myself into further trouble. Not only that, but I had nowhere to run to. I couldn't exactly pass through this small town without being noticed and I hadn't exactly made many friends to bail me out.

Staring intently at the board ahead of me I tried to ignore the fact that I was not meant to be here. I had been told to excuse myself from class at 2.00 to take my test and that was at least ten minutes ago. Most students would be happy to escape last period, but I was praying nobody would send me out. When the teacher turned about to explain the notes her eyes seemed to rest on me. Her forehead seemed to crinkle for a second, but she said nothing. I was grateful for her indecision. However, my luck did not last long. A somewhat elderly man poked his head in the doorway and caught my eye much to my disappointment. He beckoned me with a wrinkly finger. I swept my pens and paper into by bag then quickly strode up the aisle and out the door.

"You're meant to be at your aptitude test."

"Oh yeah, sorry. I forgot."

He scrutinised my face and I got the feeling he sensed I wasn't being truthful, but he continued without hesitation. "That's OK, just go to A2. You're the only one so they won't mind if you are a bit late. Do you think you can find your way?"

"Yeah." I waved a hand indecisively and abruptly turned on my heels. To my relief he did not call out after me to say I was heading in the wrong direction.

I didn't go to A2. I didn't even try to find it. I wasn't about to sacrifice my anonymity for anyone. Instead I went and sat on a slope at the bottom of the field. Several other students were lurking around, most of them smoking. A couple approached me and offered to sell me a variety of stuff, but I waved them off. Normally I would have left long ago, but I stopped reminding myself of the alternative. I pulled a small paperback out of my bag and leaned on my side and read until I heard the sound of my release. I can't help it if I get lost I thought to myself.

The next day I had a hard time explaining that I had been lost in a small public school and not seen anyone for a whole hour. I don't think they ever believed me. Still, they gave up nonetheless. Instead they offered me an escort to the class, although I sensed that there wasn't much of a choice in the matter.

I watched my increasingly enticing feet and gave monosyllabic answers to any questions the young man asked. My hostility clearly made him uncomfortable but he pretended to be oblivious to it. He quickly ushered me into a classroom and took off, happy to be rid of me. A couple of heads looked up at my somewhat hurried entrance. I slowed my pace, gaining control of my momentum and headed towards the teacher at the front of the class. There were a couple of other kids in the class who stared at me from behind very thick glasses. Others didn't lift their heads, seemingly asleep. There were a lot of foreigners and it didn't take me long to realise that this was the slow group. I twisted my head away and gave the teacher my name, intentionally not stating my purpose here hoping to stall for time. Unfortunately she had been expecting me and she took a thick pile of papers into her podgy hands then thrust it into mine. "Take a seat wherever you want. You've got 50 minutes to finish this." I uttered thanks then retreated into the corner. I stared at the questions and did a few easy ones then gave up and rested my head on my hands.

I must have fallen asleep because the next think I was aware of was the plump teacher nudging my shoulder. "Are you alright?" she asked. I slightly nodded my head and winced into the glaring light. I lifted my coat onto my shoulders seeing the threatening clouds outside then hoisted my bag onto one shoulder while walking out the door.

The next day while I sat in my tutor room my teacher came and put a few papers face down on my desk. I quickly turned them over and was greeted by several red markings. At the top left-hand corner a large 57% stood out. I breathed a sigh of relief. I still had my anonymity.

When I sat in my room that day I went through my old books from school the previous year. I flicked through a pile of papers, but after washing my eyes over them once I tossed them into my bin. I hid them below several other scraps of paper and food wrappers. My parents may have liked them, but they were the cause of all my unhappiness. I didn't need them anymore because now I had my sweet anonymity. Through the grating of the bin I could still see a lot of the papers and on top of every page was a bold 'A'.

Please Review, I'd love to know what you think.